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Nearly everyone in Sacramento who’s attended an event to benefit a nonprofit—from downtown to the edges of the region and well beyond—knows who David Sobon is. The 56-year-old auctioneer and event consultant estimates he raised “around $5 million” for charities in the past year. Those who have seen him in action don’t doubt the claim. He manages, with the on-stage swagger of a rock star, wise-guy humor and an appealing relentlessness to turn even the most silent of non-silent auctions into wallet-opening free-for-alls, rarely breaking a sweat.
His nonstop workload allows him to live and work in a three-story Colonial Revival at the corner of 18th and N streets in midtown Sacramento, an art-filled home famous for the Great Gatsby-like parties he and his wife, Anna, throw—as well as the couple’s generosity in making it available for meetings of some of the volunteer boards Sobon serves on or advises.
Sobon, who’s lived in midtown for the past 10 years (he also lived there for six years in the 1980s) rides his bike to meetings all over town. But he’s especially proud of the fact that he also maintains an office on Seventh and J streets—in a building whose lease provides him with what will be one of the most coveted parking spaces in downtown once Golden 1 Center, which is a few feet away, opens.
“I have clients in El Dorado Hills, Elk Grove, Placerville, Roseville, Auburn, Wilton, Davis, Vacaville,” he reels off, “and you know something? I rarely go to those places to meet with them. They’d all much rather come downtown.”
The great thing about meeting in a city that’s no longer sleeping, Sobon says, is that “You can make a day or night of it. You can get here early and maybe go out to lunch or go to an art gallery or shop. Or after the meeting you can stay downtown for dinner or to catch a play.
“In short,” he says, laughing, “people will use doing business as an excuse to come downtown. And I think that’s totally cool.”